I will begin syndicating the responses I give to certain estate and probate questions posted on the advice website Avvo.
We begin with a question regarding estate planning. I'll place the question here and then my answer after the "read more" break.
What is the process we need take on adding me to his deed, or doing a trust?
My dad has property in Ga., and it only has his name on it. At this time he has no will. He's 73 yrs old. We are wanting to put my name on the deed and he is wanting to do a trust will. If he does that type of will does he need to put my name on the deed? My mom is deceased. And there are three other kids besides me. I'm the one that writes out bills and does his banking for him. Basically looks after my dad.
My answer: don't go it alone!
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Birchmore. There are a number of considerations here, and do-it-yourself jobs, even with advice on Avvo, can be disastrous. A few points:
Most Georgians find it's more advantageous not to write what you call a "trust/will." The term you're probably thinking of is a revocable living trust. These are very popular in western states because probate can be so complex there. Not so in Georgia. A qualified estate planning lawyer can help your father determine whether he desires a living trust or simply a will.
Beyond that, you're correct that no deed need be written to you if there were a living trust. But for that matter, you need not be "put on the deed" even if there's a will. All things equal, it is usually far better if your father doesn't "put you on the deed" because of the capital gains tax advantages that come from inheriting property rather than taking it by gift.
There are numerous other considerations besides. I wrote "put you on the deed" in quotation marks above (and in this sentence) because that's not really what happens. (Though I know what you mean). But even if you did get the property deeded to you during your father's lifetime, you should be aware of certain considerations surrounding the possibility of his need for long-term care one day. Those are so complex that I really would advise a talk with an estate planning lawyer in order to address them.
It's a good thing that you and your father are planning. Please be sure to continue it with a professional. Enormous pitfalls await if you don't. (The same is true if you use an online form service such as Legal Zoom - there is simply no replacing a qualified attorney's advice).
Best of luck.
Tanner Pittman, LLC is a West Georgia law firm that specializes in estate services, civil litigation, and legal transactions.
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